The “Canadian Experience” Disconnect: Immigrant Selection, Economic Settlement, and Hiring

The Conference Board of Canada, 28 pages, October 4, 2022
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This impact paper explores the economic benefits and costs of “Canadian experience” and recommends ways to improve the transition from temporary to permanent residency with the goal of economic integration.

Document Highlights

  • “Canadian experience” has no consistent definition, reducing the efficacy of the immigration system and leading immigrants to invest in activities with unreliable economic returns.
  • Comparing those who recently arrived in Canada with those who transition from temporary to permanent residency presents a significant measurement problem because the latter group’s settlement journey starts much earlier.
  • In assessing the economic viability of two-step immigration, we must consider that temporary residents typically have no access to settlement services funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and lack the rights of a permanent resident.
  • Having experience in a good-quality job in Canada before becoming a permanent resident, advanced language and soft skills, and professional networks and ethnic ties help immigrants achieve economic success early on.
  • Canadian education, volunteering and unpaid internships, and personal networks alone don’t guarantee successful economic integration.
  • Hiring practices that assess a candidate’s “Canadian-ness” perpetuate discrimination against immigrants and aren’t based on work performance.

Table of Contents

Key Findings
Permanent Residents Are Increasingly Former Temporary Foreign Workers and International Students
Canadian Experience Is Poorly Defined
What Kind of Canadian Experience Drives Economic Integration?
Canadian Experience Shouldn’t Be a Hiring Requirement
Not All Canadian Experience Is Clearly Tied to Economic Integration
Immigrants Bear the Cost of Gaining and Proving Canadian Experience
The Measurement Fallacy of Two-Step Immigration
Future Research
Appendix A: Methodology

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